WE GOT POPE’D! | With the reelection machine revving up, Cyrus and Mellie court Leo Bergen, a top-shelf campaign manager, (played by Private Practice‘s Paul Adelstein) to keep Fitz in office. Leo, though, isn’t shy to list POTUS’ liabilities — including but by no means limited to his “My Wife’s a Frigid Shrew Problem.” All told, he notes, Fitz these days “looks like a loser. And if his heart’s not in it, he’s gonna lose. And I don’t ‘do’ losers.”
Olivia meanwhile pitches congresswoman Josie Marcus on working her magic for the White House contender. Josie says a quick yes, then pulls Liv in for her first fixing gig: to seal a lid on the baby she gave up at age 15. The Gladiators set course for Montana, to buy off the five people who could possibly blab about the bambino. When the baby daddy rebuffs their briefcase of money, it’s realized that Cy’s “bitchboy” Ethan is about to put Billy Joe Lee on TV to tell all. But Huck and Harrison quickly silence the guy with the threat of revealing a marital indiscretion. (“We got Pope’d, sir!” Ethan reports to Cy.)
THE COMEBACK KID | Ultimately, it’s the nurse that helped deliver the baby who points Liv at the truth: Josie’s mother took in the newborn and raised her as her own. Meaning, Josie’s sister Candice (Army Wives‘ Sally Pressman) is actually her daughter. Josie refrains from coming forth, despite Liv’s advice, yet must when Governor Resten brings it up during a debate. Josie slowly seizes the moment, unfurling a gripping, emotional female voter-friendly tale of how she gave her child a better life — while all a watching Cy can do is regret teaching Olivia the dark arts.
Later, at the White House Correspondents Dinner — and after overhearing Fitz and Olivia brainstorm jokes, like old times — Mellie lures her (just stunning) rival into a one-on-one. “Hear me out…,” the First Lady starts, asking Liv to run Fitz’s reelection campaign. “He’s not alive, he can’t breathe when you’re not here…. He needs you, so I need you. Come back to us.” Thing is, Josie Marcus also wants Olivia, to run her White House bid. But I think we know which way Liv will go, as she slips on her wispy GRANT FOR PRESIDENT T-shirt and peruses old campaign trail photos. A sweet, peaceful moment. Until….
THE REMINGTON DEAL | Digging into Operation Remington, Huck uncovers a video of Fitz’s meeting with Rowan, during which the men traded veiled threats. “Lay off Jake Ballard,” Fitz demanded, to which the B613 boss sternly reminded: “I have never answered to any holder of your office…. It is you who should not test me.” After some sweaty b-ball scrimmage with a taunting Jake, Fitz goes so far as to pick Cy’s brain about dissembling B613, but Cy says it’s impossible. And if they makes waves, there’d be grassy knoll-type ramifications — “just ask Kennedy.”
Huck and Jake ultimately ask the question: If Fitz wasn’t flying the years-ago Iran mission he says he did, where was he? When Jake notes that he saw Fitz just 10 hours later, it narrows the list of possible locations. After crunching much data, Huck deduces that Fitz likely was in Iceland. But doing what? With much gravity, Huck reports to Jake that at that time, a 747 carrying more than 300 passengers crashed in Iceland, due to “mechanical failure.” But a local fisherman claimed to have seen “flares,” suggesting that Fitz shot down the plane. When Jake claims coincidence, Huck presents a third clue that points to conspiracy: the flight manifest, on which the name Maya Lewis — Olivia’s mother — appears. And the hour closes with the men at Liv’s doorstep, seemingly set to break the news.
ELSEWHERE… | At the WHCD, Sally confronted Leo Bergen in the men’s room (!), to ask if he’d help her challenge Fitz, as a third-party candidate — and he was intrigued. Jack Coleman (Heroes) debuted but had little to do as the Second Husband, though you have to suspect that will change…. David invited Abby to the dinner, but she clumsily flaked out — only to later show up in his apartment looking like a million bucks. Turns out, her ex was at the event…. Quinn, who was frozen out by Huck and others throughout the episode, discreetly purchased a gun while in Montana.
All in all, I thought this was one of the best episodes of the season to date — and coming off last week’s decidedly “meh” outing. Pulling Liv back into the White House is a compelling development, and the Remington reveal (which I quasi-predicted a few Spoiler Alert!s ago) is just audacious enough to blend WTF? and OMG! in a Season 2 kind of way. Now, we must wonder: Was Liv’s mom/Eli’s wife a “grassy knoll” target, or collateral damage?